The Idea of an E-Book

I’m sorry, I just can’t come up with the great posting titles the rest of you do.

The first book I looked for was Lux Mundi (1890), a collection of Anglo-Catholic theological essays edited by Charles Gore. My reason for doing so was practical, since Travis Brown and I are using scanned images from this book, fed through OCR tools like Tesseract and OCRopus, for the ActiveOCR project at MITH. I won’t say the book was chosen at random,  but close to it. Travis wanted something from the late 19th century, and suggested that I search for everything in the Hathi Trust collection published in 1890.

The fact that the only other collection it appears in, however, is Google Books rules it out for the purpose of this assignment.

Deciding to stick with the theme of 19th century divines, I looked for John Henry Newman’s The Idea of the University, and found it on Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive, Hathi Trust and Google Books.

As several other have noted, Project Gutenberg provides the most formats and the least provenance information. The book is available in HTML, EPUB, Kindle, PDF, Plucker, QiOO Mobile, Plain Text UTF-8 and TEI. All of these in addition, of course, to the Online Reader. Some of these formats seem a bit obscure to me — I had to look up Plucker (apparently an e-book reader for PalmOS devices), and QiOO (I’m guessing a reader for Android phones, since it’s Java-based, although they didn’t use the name Android). I fired up the oXygen editor to take a look at the TEI file , and it appears to be TEI (P5?) Lite with a Project Gutenberg-specific modified DTD. Although there are credits for the people responsible for preparing the files for Project Gutenberg, there is no information about which printed text(s) provide the basis for the electronic text.

I got 26 results when I searched the Internet Archive for The Idea of a University by Newman. One of these results was for the Project Gutenberg record, which offers the book in several formats not immediately visible on Project Gutenberg’s own page, including DAISY Digital Talking Book and DjVu (pronounced déjà vu, this is a format for scanned documents that its promoters, although I suspect few others, consider a competitor to image PDFs). There were also at least three (one may have been a duplicate)  results from Google Books (digitized from the University of California, Harvard, and New York Public Libraries).

I chose to look at one (26 was way too many) in detail that was contributed by “Kelly – University of Toronto”. While my first reaction was that “Kelly” might be an individual, a Google search indicated that it is a reference to the John M. Kelly Library at the University of St. Michael’s College, a Catholic university that has an institutional relationship with the public University of Toronto. This version was available in Full Text, PDF, EPUB, Kindle, Daisy and DjVu formats. The documents is in the Public Domain. There is no apparent way for users to report or correct errors. This is probably as good a place as any to note that I find the default online reader, which navigates through the text by “turning” pages, incredibly annoying. This is an misguided as the attempts of late 15th century printers to recreate the look of manuscripts in printed texts.

(This is as far as I’m going to be able to get before class, but I will update the post later with the information on the Hathi Trust and Google Books sites.)


5 thoughts on “The Idea of an E-Book

  1. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who was forced to look up the different formats. It would have been nice to try out some of the more obscure ones to see how well the text translates to them, such as Plucker or QiOO. Did the TEI file offer any particular advantages? I wasn’t able to get it up and running.

    Also, rather off topic, but what is the ActiveOCR project that you are working on for MITH, if I may ask?

  2. It also promotes the flow of bile in the body as well as better circulation.

    It is ideal for you to use fresh ginger root, peel
    it and grate it to bits. Fill the tub with water at a temperature you can tolerate.

  3. Ginger produces a hot, fragrant kitchen spice.[5] Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be steeped in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added. Ginger can also be made into candy, or ginger wine which has been made commercially since 1740.;

    Go and visit our blog too

  4. Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it ;) I will
    come back once again since i have book marked it.
    Money annd freeddom is the best way tto change, may you be rich and continue to help
    other people.

  5. Can I just saay what a relief to discover somebody who really knows
    what they are discussing on the net. You certainly realize how tto bring a problem tto light
    and make it important. More and more people mmust read this and understand this side of
    your story. I waas surprised that you aren’t more popular given that you definitely possess thhe gift.

Leave a Reply to Cliffie Hichar Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>